'Senseless' Smalling slammed by Man Utd fans after 'utterly horrendous' first half

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The central defender was lucky not to concede a penalty just before half-time in Sunday's game at Newcastle United

Chris Smalling drew the ire of Manchester United fans on Sunday after somehow not giving away a "senseless" penalty during the first half against Newcastle United.

The centre-back was lucky not to be penalised five minutes before the end of the period when he brought down Dwight Gayle with a clumsy challenge on the edge of the box.

Despite the penalty calls from Newcastle head coach Rafael Benitez and their home fans, the referee let the game continue and the sides went in 0-0 at the break.

But the Magpies were hard done by, according to Liverpool icon Graeme Souness and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, who felt the referee had made a mistake.

"For me it's a penalty. He doesn't get the ball, he gets the player and it's inside the box," ex-Liverpool star and manager Souness said. "What more do you need to know?"

Henry added: "It was a penalty."

While Newcastle fans and pundits may criticise the referee for the decision, United fans have turned on Smalling for a horrendous display and what could have been a costly mistake.

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